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John Terry's Chelsea career: From winning titles to courting controversy

After months of speculation, Chelsea captain John Terry has signed a new one-year contract at Stamford Bridge. Here's a look back at the highs and lows of Terry's rollercoaster ride with Chelsea and England over the course of his 18-year career.

A version of this article first appeared on Feb 2, 2016.


1. Makes Chelsea debut

Little fanfare greeted the arrival of a 17-year-old Terry when he replaced Dan Petrescu in the 86th minute of a League Cup third round tie against Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea were already 4-1 up courtesy of a hat-trick from player-manager Gianluca Vialli and a Tore Andre Flo strike.

The Blues ended the match with four other academy products on the pitch -- Michael Duberry, Jody Morris, Jon Harley and Neil Clement -- though none went on to make the impact at Stamford Bridge that Terry did.

2. Appointed Chelsea captain and 2005 title

Claudio Ranieri first handed Terry the armband whenever club captain Marcel Desailly was off the pitch during the 2003-04 season, and when the France international retired in the summer of 2004, successor Jose Mourinho bestowed the full-time responsibility on Chelsea's ambitious and outspoken 23-year-old academy product.

Terry responded by leading Chelsea to a first league title in 50 years, marshalling a historic defence that conceded just 15 goals in 38 matches along the way.

3. Appointed England captain

Steve McClaren's first decision as England manager was to pick David Beckham's successor as captain and Terry held off competition from Steven Gerrard and outside choice Gary Neville to win the honour.

Announcing the decision, McClaren told the Football Association website: "I'm convinced he will prove to be one of the best captains England has ever had."

McClaren's tenure as England boss ended in disaster with failure to qualify for Euro 2008, but Terry managed to win the endorsement of replacement Fabio Capello to continue in the role.

4. Chelsea do the Double in 2010

Terry was at the heart of another dominant Chelsea team under Carlo Ancelotti in 2009-10, starting 37 of 38 Premier League matches as the Blues saw off Manchester United to claim a first title in four years on the final day of the season, scoring 103 goals -- still a competition record.

The Chelsea captain netted just twice in the league himself but both goals were crucial: winning headers away to Burnley and at home against United to help his side eventually claim the Premier League trophy by a single point.

John Terry helped Chelsea to a 1-0 triumph over Portsmouth in the 2010 FA Cup final.
John Terry helped Chelsea to a 1-0 triumph over Portsmouth in the 2010 FA Cup final.

5. Rejuvenation under Mourinho, 2015 title glory

Terry's influence at Chelsea appeared to be waning after Andre Villas-Boas and Rafa Benitez cast doubt on his fitness and athleticism, but the return of Mourinho to Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2013 heralded a return to prominence for the veteran centre-back.

At the age of 34, Terry became only the second outfield player in Premier League history -- after Gary Pallister for United in 1992-93 -- to play every minute for a title-winning side, as Chelsea romped away with the trophy last season, before publicly hitting back at his critics during the trophy celebrations.


1. Accused of assault and affray

Terry had barely begun to establish himself in the Chelsea team when he encountered his first career-threatening controversy.

The 21-year-old defender, along with Jody Morris and Wimbledon defender Des Byrne, was in Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court to face charges relating to an altercation with bouncer Trevor Thirlwall at the Wellington Club, a members-only London nightclub, in January 2002.

Terry was found not guilty of four charges in August 2002 but, having been suspended from England duty for the duration of the proceedings, was unable to break into Sven-Goran Eriksson's senior squad in time to participate in the World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

2. Misery in Moscow

Terry was never even supposed to take Chelsea's fifth penalty in the shootout that decided the 2008 Champions League final against Manchester United.

That man was Didier Drogba, but the Ivorian's red card for raising his hands to Nemanja Vidic in extra time set the scene for what the Blues captain still considers his lowest moment in football.

Chelsea were one kick away from winning club football's greatest prize on owner Roman Abramovich's home turf, but Terry slipped in the Moscow rain and his shot clipped the post with Edwin van der Sar beaten. United recovered and Nicolas Anelka missed the decisive spot kick to hand Sir Alex Ferguson's men the trophy.

With the 2007-08 Champions League on his boot, John Terry slipped and missed his penalty, paving the way for Manchester United to become continental champions.
With the 2007-08 Champions League on his boot, John Terry slipped and missed his penalty, paving the way for Manchester United to become continental champions.

3. Fallout with Bridge, stripped of England captaincy

Terry was in the midst of leading Chelsea to an historic double when allegations -- denied by all parties to this day and retracted by the national newspapers that published them -- surfaced of an extramarital affair with Vanessa Perroncel, the ex-partner of former Chelsea teammate Wayne Bridge.

Bridge refused to shake Terry's hand when Manchester City visited Stamford Bridge in February 2010, and the allegations led Capello to strip the Chelsea captain of the England armband, though Capello reversed his decision a year later.

4. Anton Ferdinand racism row

Terry faced criminal charges again in December 2011, after he was accused of directing a racial slur towards QPR defender Anton Ferdinand during a Premier League match at Loftus Road.

Westminster Magistrates' Court found Terry not guilty of a racially aggravated public order offence on the grounds of insufficient evidence, but the Football Association -- having already stripped Terry of the England captaincy for a second time pending the outcome of the legal proceedings -- brought a charge of their own.

Terry retired from England duty on the eve of the FA hearing, at which he was found guilty of racially abusing Ferdinand on the "balance of probabilities" and handed a four-match ban and £220,000 fine.

5. Red card against Barcelona

Four years after his moment of misfortune in Moscow, a moment of madness in Barcelona cost Terry his chance of Champions League final redemption.

The Chelsea captain was shown a straight red card in the first half at Camp Nou for catching Alexis Sanchez with a knee to the back away from the ball, leaving the Blues to try and defend their way through a semifinal second leg with 10 men against Pep Guardiola's Barcelona.

Goals from Ramires and Fernando Torres secured Chelsea a miraculous 2-2 draw to progress and Didier Drogba was the hero in a dramatic final in Munich, while the suspended Terry was reduced to the role of pantomime subplot after being mocked for joining in the postmatch celebrations in his full kit.

Liam is ESPN FC's Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Liam_Twomey.


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